Lost on Purpose: A visit to the Lost Sierra Visitors Center
By Clint Koble
Do you ever wonder where people come from to visit our beautiful Plumas County? I got a great insight to that when I visited Jan Tew, Director of the Lost Sierra Visitors Center recently. Her office, located next to the Lost Sierra Chamber of Commerce, is near the Corner Barn at the intersection of Hwys 70 and 89 in Blairsden. From there, you are near Graeagle, Plumas Eureka State Park, and Gold Lakes Basin.
With no Hwy signs other than at the intersection itself, I found the hidden jewel that Jan and the Chamber Staff proudly talk about as the only brick and mortar Visitors Center in Plumas County. It is staffed six days a week, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are hundreds of maps, brochures, trail guides, wedding and restaurant selections, classic pictures, and continuing videos that showcase all of Plumas County, including Lassen Park. There’s a terrific stash of maps, brochures, and informative magazines inside and outside the Visitors Center. No one walks away without something helpful and informative.
I paged through the directory where people sign in from all over the world. I saw many names from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Poland, Denmark, Argentina, Canada, and more. Just since the last week of June, guests have registered from Israel and states as far away as Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, and New York. Residents from all over California were registered as you would expect. Believe it or not, many visitors are locals that want to learn more about our beautiful assets and hidden “hot spots”! Area VRBO and Air B&B renters frequently stop by to collect information for their guests that they don’t have on their websites.
What surprised me was their comments. I’ve never visited some of the countries known for their incredible scenery, yet these foreigners remarked “how beautiful or fantastic the area was, how great the people were” etc. One visitor sent a thank you to the Visitors Center staff for being so helpful in guiding them through Plumas County. While I was there, people from Berkeley and Riverside, CA came in to find trails guides as part of their stay for a wedding at the 20 Mile House. They came early but stayed until the Visitors Center was open. They had collected information displayed outside the Visitors Center and wanted more to fill their curiosity.
Two monitors display pictures and videos of Plumas County sites and scenes along with some of our wonderful skiing history. The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship was on full display as bikers “found themselves in the Lost Sierra”. Whether you’re looking for information on our Historical Longboards or places to have a wedding, you will find it at the Lost Sierra Visitors Center. There’s lots of parking and the cleanest restrooms you have ever seen!
So good is this Visitors Center, that residents of Quincy are clamoring for a Visitors Center that mirrored their past Visitors Center. In an industry of hospitality, Visitors Centers are an opportunity for us to shine with our genuine hospitality and gratitude for our guests that fuel our hotels, resorts, businesses, lakes, rivers, and trails.
You can contact the Lost Sierra Visitors Center at (530) 836-6811 or https://www.lostsierrachamber.org